AFTER a disastrous start to the BTRDA Rally season which saw no points from the opening two rounds, Hamsterley driver Stephen Petch continued his rise to supremacy by taking victory on last weekend’s Plains Rally to move up to fifth in the standings.

Co-driven by Crook’s Michael Wilkinson, the WD40-backed Ford Fiesta WRC pairing came home 11 seconds to the good on the Welsh event to make it back to back successes as they go in search of the crown.

Making a comeback in a new car after sitting out the season so far, 2016 BTRDA champions Charlie Payne from Ripon and Welsh co-driver Carl Williamson brought their Ford Fiesta WRC home in eighth place overall whilst Teesside businessman Peter Stephenson and Staindrop co-driver Giles Dykes finished 16th overall and ninth in class in their Able UK-backed Ford Focus WRC. Potto’s Andy Davison and co-driver Tom Murphy claimed 35th overall and third in class in their Talbot Sunbeam.

Meanwhile at Melbourne Raceway near York, the John Overend Memorial Stages Rally was taking place and saw success for the Ripon duo of George Hewick and Mick Johnson who brought their Ford Escort home in 15th overall and second in class.

Sadly for Guisborough’s Dave Hornbrook and co-driver Phil Hewson, they retired their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4 with differential problems whilst clutch failure ended the bid of Kev Hullah from Saltburn and co-driver Chris Harding from Marske in their VW Golf GTi. In the Junior class, Pickhill’s Bruce Lindsay guided George Sheard to 10th overall in their Citroen C1.

Picture sent: (Please accredit James Ward/Chicane Media if used) Stephen Petch took the victory on the Plains Rally last weekend.

GUY Wilks put in another determined performance but just missed out on a semi-final spot in the fourth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship last weekend.

As the only permanent British driver in the series, Wilks had been looking to get back on the comeback trail at the Coyote RX of Belgium after two tough rounds in Portugal and Germany.

Just a week since a big crash wrecked his chances of a semi-final place at Hockenheim, the 36-year-old headed to the Circuit Jules Tacheny de Mettet looking to make amends. At the wheel of his LOCO Energy Drink and Karting North East-backed Volkswagen RX Polo,

Wilks got a steady start to the weekend, ending Q1 in 12th on Saturday. But things took a downward turn in Q2 leaving him languishing in 21st, and he ended the opening day 16th overall. Determined to climb back up the order on Sunday, the Durham driver was 13th quickest in Q3 before enjoying his strongest result of the weekend in Q4, posting the 10th fastest time of the session.

But it wasn’t enough to make the top 12, and he ended qualifying in 14th position overall, narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-final. He collected three championship points as a result of his 14th placing at the end of qualifying, and remains 15th in the points table.

He now has a fortnight to prepare for his home round, the World RX of Great Britain at Lydden Hill next weekend.

A COUPLE of local riders were in action at last week’s Vauxhall International North West 200 in Northern Ireland and despite the mixed weather conditions came away with good results. Stockton’s Daley Mathison scored a best result of 11th on his Eddie Stobart-backed BMW in the Superbike race and backed that up with top 12 places in the Superstock and Supersport classes too.

Northallerton rider Phil Stead was making his debut at the Portstewart-based event and claimed 24th in the Supersport race aboard the NYRRSC and Langver-backed Kawasaki 600.

REDCAR SG Petch Bears did not have a home speedway match last week but instead were away to Sheffield Tigers. Unfortunately for the Bears, they had to use a rider replacement for Jonas B Andersen who was back home riding in the Danish Championship.

Also, Ellis Perks was missing due to an injury he received while riding for Poole Pirates meaning he was replaced by guest rider Tom Bacon who only managed to score two points. Bears’ captain, Jason Garrity, scored 12 points but Ben Barker suffered with mechanical problems and only managed six points meaning the Bears went down to a full-strength Tigers 54-38.